Anandaraj (born 12 October 1958) is an Indian Tamil film actor, who has enacted villain roles in several Tamil films. He has appeared in over hundred films in different languages including Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam.
Anandaraj made his Bollywood debut as main antagonist with Action Jackson starring Ajay Devgan and Sonakshi Sinha.
Anandaraj was born and brought up in Pondicherry and his father was a businessman. After schooling he wanted his son to be a police officer, but Anandaraj wanted to try something different as he was fascinated with films. Fortunately his family supported his dreams. He joined in M.G.R. Government Film and Television Training Institute, Chennai for a course. Kannada actor Shiva Rajkumar was his classmate.
Anandaraj was under the impression that offers would come his way, but later he had to struggle for an opportunity and finally started off with the 1988 film Oruvar Vaazhum Aalayam starring Prabhu and Sivakumar, where he played the role of a crook and Urimai Geetham, both becoming blockbusters at the box office and later En Thangachi Padichava directed by P. Vasu gave him the much needed break in all the four south Indian languages. Thereafter, he has acted as a villain alongside most of the top actors, like Rajnikanth (Baasha), Vijayakanth (Pulan Visaranai), R. Sarathkumar (Suryavamsam), Mammootty (Makkal Aatchi), Balakrishna (Muddula Mavayya), Chiranjeevi (Gang Leader) and Vijay (Pokkiri).
On playing the hero roles, Anand Raj mentioned, "When one gets popular being a villain, people around you always push you to take the next step and it was one of those phases when I took up offers to play the lead role". He went on to play lead roles in films, David Uncle, Thampi Oorukku Puthusu, Kaaval Nilayam, Palaivana Paravaigal, Katharavan, En Rajangam, Kizhakku Veluthathchu, Government Mappillai, Pokkiri Thampi, Puthiya Aatchi and My India. Eventhough directors offered him good scripts, the films just didn't work well at the box office.
Anand Raj continued "When you are a hero, you get to do only two or three films a year. But if you are a villain, you get to sign a lot of films". He said he lost his income as his films as hero didn't work, so he decided to play once again the villain as well as character actor roles.
Director Prabhu Deva offered Anandraj, the lead in role and asked not to react to anything eventhough a baddie is expected to give exaggerated expressions. Prabhu Deva wanted Anandraj to sport a certain look, so he went intense training for a year and lost about 12 kilos and fulfilled Prabhu Deva's expectation to get signed for Action Jackson. He played a don in the film and his look is completely different from the one he had tried the south as he sport a lizard tattoo on his head.
Anandaraj was born in Puducherry and is the second son in the family of eight. His father was an arak merchant.